November 2015 Metrics Report

A Message from NDEQ Director Jim Macy:

In July 2015, NDEQ initiated a monthly metrics report. This information is provided to the Governor’s Office, is shared with NDEQ staff, and now is being presented to the public. The reason this report has been established is to measure what the agency has accomplished; to set annual and longer-term goals; and to examine these goals against accomplishments to ensure continuous process improvements.

The November report focuses on permit applications and permit decisions. This is followed by a summary of issues, accomplishments and other items of note for November, 2015.
Updated information will be posted monthly on this website.

Following is a description of specific issues NDEQ has been addressing in November:

Emerging Risks / Issues: The Waste Management Division (WMD) is addressing two sites with potential to generate considerable public interest. The closed Omaha Riverview Meadows Landfill (near Riverview Blvd. and Bancroft St.) operated without regulations from 1960-1980. Methane emissions have been detected and have the potential to impact nearby residences and a public school. The WMD has met with the City of Omaha and Douglas County to discuss a cooperative long-term assessment and management strategy for the site.

The WMD held a public hearing on an application to modify an existing solid waste composting permit at AltEnergy near Mead. AltEnergy operates an ethanol plant, a compost operation and an anaerobic digester. The request involves accepting and processing additional materials at the compost site. The testimony at the hearing was largely negative with testifiers complaining of odor and increased traffic.

Accomplishments: The Department began accepting applications for the Storm Water General Construction permit on November 12th. To date, nine applications have been received; eight have been issued. The application not approved included erroneous information in the application. The applications were issued within one day; previously it took between a week and a half and two weeks to complete the permit review and issuance.

The Department held Environmental Update Ethanol Workshops in Norfolk and Grand Island. The primary objective of the workshops was to help the industry better understand and comply with environmental requirements. Additionally, the Department benefited from dialogue with industry. Approximately 80% of the ethanol facilities were represented. The feedback from workshop attendees was very positive.

Misc. Items of Note: The Small Business Compliance Advisory Panel met to discuss the Department’s compliance assistance efforts over the last year. The Panel was created by the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990. The Panel issues an annual report to the Governor which summarizes the Department’s assistance activities.

The Environmental Quality Council met 11/12/15 and held hearings on NDEQ’s solid waste regulations and grant programs related to solid waste and wastewater and drinking water programs. All of NDEQ’s proposals were passed by the Council. The Waste Management Division (WMD) conducted targeted outreach on the Program Priority System used for awarding waste grants. In the past this has been a divisive hearing due to differing stakeholder interests. Partially because of the outreach efforts, the stakeholders were unanimous in support of the WMD proposal.

The second largest scrap tire pile in the state completed clean-up in November. The pile consisted of over 1,557 tons of tires, the equivalent of 156,000 passenger tires. The clean-up was accomplished thanks to a $152,653 grant awarded to the City of Bassett.